For this list, I took my “Best Architecture of All Time” list and organized it chronologically. At the same time, I added all architecture that was on three of the original 20 or so source lists, so this list is longer than the first one. I’ve used the earliest date (usually start of construction) as the organizing principle. In many cases, buildings have been added to, restored and renovated over the years, so there are often multiple dates of construction, as well as architects, designers and engineers.
2600-2400 BCE. Salisbury Plain, England, UK. Architect(s): Unknown
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument set on Salisbury Plain in the west of England that is composed of earthworks and numerous stones. The original circular earth bank and ditch, with an opening to the northeast, date to 3100 BCE, while erection of most of the stones probably occurred between 2600 BCE and 2400 BCE (see third image, above). Further rearrangements of the smaller bluestones continued until 1600 BCE. The purpose of Stonehenge is much debated among scholars. Some say it is an astronomical observatory due to its alignment with the summer solstice; others that it is a temple for sacred rites of healing or death. There is evidence of many prehistoric burials at or near the site and a long avenue that connects it with another prehistoric site. The standing stones at Stonehenge appear to be descended from an earlier tradition of standing timber structures, remnants of which have been found at Stonehenge and elsewhere. The builders switched from timber to stone in about 2600 BCE, beginning with bluestones measuring about 6.6 ft. tall, 3-5 ft. wide and 2.6 ft. thick. Later, the builders began using much larger sarsens, made of limestone, to create the famous sarsen circle. (See first and second images, above.) Given this history of working with wood, it is not surprising that the techniques used to link the stones come directly from carpentry. Mortise and tenon joints allow the horizontal lintel stones to fit snugly atop the standing stones. In addition, the lintels themselves were fitted to each other using tongue and groove joints. The stones were dressed to create either a smooth or dimpled surface. To maintain perspective, each standing stone widens toward the top and the lintels are shaped to curve slightly. The surfaces of the stones that face the inside of the circle are smoother than the outer surfaces. There are 30 standing stones and 30 lintels (many of them fallen) in the 108-ft diameter circle. Each standing stone is 13 ft. tall, almost 7 ft. wide, 3.5 ft. thick and weighs 25 tons. The lintels are 10 ft. long, 3.2 ft. wide and 2.6 ft. thick. Those who have studied the ruins do not believe that the circle of stones was ever completed, despite numerous imaginative paintings to that effect. Inside the stone circle were five trilithons (each consisting of two standing stones capped by a lintel) arranged in a horseshoe shape. (See second image, above.) These are larger than the stones in the circle, ranging from 20-24 ft. tall. At the very center lies a stone known as the Altar Stone, which dates to the time of the bluestones. At the northeastern entrance stood Portal Stones, only one of which remains, although it has fallen (see third image, above). Farther from the circle are four Station Stones and the Heelstone, which is located beyond the entrance. How the prehistoric people moved the heavy stones from locations that ranged from 10-125 miles away is the source of much speculation but no certainty.
Great Pyramids at Giza
c. 3200??; 2551-2470;c. 2560-2540 BCE; 2558-2532 BCE; 2450 BCE. Giza, Egypt. Architect(s): Unknown
The three large pyramids at Giza are the burial monuments of three Old Kingdom pharaohs: Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure.
Temple of Amon (Precinct of Amun-Re)
c. 2000- 30 BCE. Karnak Temple Complex, near Luxor, Egypt. Architect(s): Unknown
The entrance to the Great Hypostyle Hall in the Precinct of Amun-Re, part of the Karnak Temple complex.
The Acropolis (includes numerous temples and other buildings)
5th Century BCE. Athens, Greece. Architect(s): Unknown
In addition to containing temples and other public buildings, the strategic Athenian hilltop called the Acropolis was heavily fortified in case of invasion.
477-432 BCE. Acropolis, Athens, Greece. Architects: Ictinus & Callicrates
Located on the Acropolis, the Parthenon was a temple to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, and is a prime example of the Doric architectural order.
The Erechtheion (Temple of Erechtheum)
c. 421–405 BCE. Acropolis, Athens, Greece. Architect: Mnesicles (?)
The Erechtheion was a temple located on the Acropolis that was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.
Temple of Artemis
323-250 BCE. Destroyed in 401 CE. Ephesus, Turkey. Architects: Paeonius and Demetrios (attrib.)
This is a small-scale model of what the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, may have looked like before it was destroyed in 401 CE.
Temple of Horus (Temple of Edfu)
237-57 BCE. Edfu, Egypt. Architect(s): Unknown
This temple to the Egyptian hawk-god Horus was built during the Ptolemaic Period, when Egypt was part of the Greek and Roman empires.
Teotihuacan (numerous buildings)
100 BCE – 250 CE. Near Mexico City, Mexico. Architect(s): Unknown
At its peak in 450 CE, Teotihuacan covered 11.5 square miles and had a population of between 150,000 and 250,000. The absence of fortifications indicates a time of peace.
San Vitale (Basilica of San Vitale)
526-547. Ravenna, Italy. Architect(s): Unknown
An exterior view of the sixth century San Vitale basilica in Ravenna, Italy, an example of the Byzantine architectural style.
Horyu-ji Temple (Hōryū-ji; Temple of the Flourishing Law)
607; 711; early 12th Century; 1374; 1603. Ikaruga, Nara, Japan. Architect(s): Unknown
The Golden Hall and Five-Storied Pagoda of Horyu-ji Buddhist temple. The pagoda may be the oldest wooden structure in the world.
750-825. Java, Indonesia. Architect: Gunadharma (attrib.)
Borobudur is a Mahayana Buddhist temple built in the Gupta architectural style.
These stupas, which house Buddhist relics, form part of the giant mandala pattern (with the main stupa at its center) that constitutes the temple’s overall design.
Great Mosque of Córdoba (Mezquita; Cathedral of Córdoba)
784-987. Córdoba, Spain. Architect(s): Unknown
The original building was a Catholic Church, built by the Visigoths in the 7th Century. After the Islamic Conquest of Spain, it was rebuilt and greatly enlarged to its current dimensions in the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries. After the Christian reconquest in 1236, it once again became a Catholic church, with further changes and additions through the years.
Aachen Cathedral, including Palatine Chapel (Imperial Cathedral)
792-814; 983; 14th – 15th centuries; 1881. Aachen, Germany. Architect(s): Unknown
Between 936 and 1531, the Aachen Cathedral was the site of coronation ceremonies for 30 German kings and 12 German queens.
Great Mosque of Samarra (Mosque of al-Mutawakkil)
847-851. Mosque destroyed 1278. Samarra, Iraq. Architect(s): Unknown
This incredible ziggurat-like minaret (Malwiya Tower) and some remnants of the walls, are all that remain from the Great Mosque of Samarra.
Le Mont Saint-Michel
10th Century-12th Century; 15th Century. Mont St. Michel, Brittany, France. Architect(s): Unknown
Mont St. Michel is a site of a monastery, which slowly built up the island from top to bottom until the buildings reached the shoreline.
Khajuraho Temples, including Kandariya Temple
950-1150. Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India. Architect(s): Unknown
Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is the largest and most ornate of the Hindu temples at khajuraho.
St. Mark’s Basilica (Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of St. Mark)
978-1094, early 18th Century. Venice, Italy. Architect: Domenico I. Contarini
St. Mark’s is an example of Byzantine architecture. Its elaborate and ornate gilded decorations have earned it the nickname “Chiesa d’Oro”, or Church of Gold.
1000-1450. Near Taos, NM, US. Architect(s): Unknown
The residential buildings in the Taos Pueblo are made of adobe, a natural building material made of sand, clay and water mixed with organic materials such as sticks, straw or manure, shaped into bricks (using frames) and dried in the sun. (Wikipedia.)
1000-1500. Easter Island (Rapa Nui), Chile. Architect(s): Unknown
The hundreds of carved Moai on Easter Island, or Rapa Nui may represent dead ancestors or dead or living chieftains. Although their heads are larger than expected, they are full-body sculptures, and were designed to face inland.
Westminster Abbey (Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster)
1042-1090; 1245-1517; 1722-1745. London, UK. Architects: Henry Yevele; Nicholas Hawksmoor
English and British kings and queens have been crowned in Westminster Abbey since 1066.
Tower of London (Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress)
1078; 1190s; 1285; 1377-1399: London, UK. Architect(s): Unknown
The Tower of London is actually a walled complex of buildings including the White Tower, the Wakefield Tower, Lanthorn Tower, Beauchamp Tower, Bloody Tower, Traitors’ Gate, Legge’s Mount, Brass Mount and others.
Durham Cathedral (Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin; St. Cuthbert of Durham)
1093-1280; 15th Century; 18th Century; 19th Century. Durham, UK. Architects: George Nicholson & James Wyatt; George Scott
Because of the Cathedral’s strategic location, high above the River Wear, the bishop of Durham had military powers from 1080 until the 19th Century. (Wikipedia.)
1113-1150. Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. Architect(s): Unknown
King Suryavarman II built Angkor Wat in the 12th Century as a state temple and his eventual burial monument. It is represented on the Cambodian flag.
Krak des Chevaliers (Crac des Chevaliers)
1140-1170; early 13th Century. Near Homs, Syria. Architect(s): Unknown
The Kurds built the original castle in the 11th Century. In 1142, the Crusading Knights Hospitaller obtained the site and rebuilt and enlarged the castle. A second phase of building occurred in the 13th Century, at which point about 2,000 soldiers were stationed there. In 1271, the Mamluk Sultan Baibars captured the castle after a 36-day siege.
The Louvre (Musée de Louvre)
Late 12th Century; 1546; 1876; 1988. Paris, France. Architects: Pierre Lescot & J.A. du Cerceau, Visconti & Jector Lefuel; I.M. Pei
The earliest building (remains of which are visible in the crypt) was a 12th Century fortress. Charles V made it a residence in the 14th Century and Francis I ordered major renovations in 1546. After Louis XIV moved the royal family to Versaille in 1682, the Louvre became a residence for artists. The space was used as a public gallery on and off in the last half of the 18th Century, but only in 1791, during the Revolution, did it become a public museum. (Wikipedia.)
Notre Dame Cathedral (Notre Dame de Paris)
1163-1345. Paris, France. Architect: Bishop Maurice de Sully (attrib.)
Notre Dame Cathedral reportedly houses in its reliquary the Crown of Thorns, a sliver of the True Cross, and one of the Holy Nails. (Wikipedia.)
Leaning Tower of Pisa
1173-1372. Pisa, Italy. Architects: Bonnano Pisano (?); Diotisalvi (?)
After recent stabilization efforts, the Tower now leans at a respectable 3.99 degree angle, less than its former 5.5 degree lurch. Of course, the original designers, not anticipating the softness of the ground on one side, intended for the tower to stand up straight. (Wikipedia.)
Chartres Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres)
1194-1260, 15th Century, 16th Century, 18th Century, 19th Century. Chartres, France. Architect(s): Unknown
The two spires are mismatched: the one on the right was completed in 1160 in a plain Gothic style, while the other one was constructed in the early 16th Century using the then-prevalent Flamboyant style. Yet somehow it works.
1248-1473; 1842-1880, 1945-1956. Cologne, Germany. Architect(s): Unknown
Extensive repairs were required on Cologne Cathedral after it suffered 14 hits by Allied bombers during World War II.
Florence Cathedral “The Duomo” (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore)
1296-1436; 1876-1887. Florence, Italy. Architects: Arnolfo di Cambio; Giotto; Andrea Pisano; Filippo Brunelleschi; Emilio de Fabris
The Cathedral complex includes the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Campanile (Giotto’s Tower).
1309-1442; Venice, Italy. Architect(s): Unknown
The Doge’s Palace served as the residence for the Doge, the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice, from the 1440s until 1797. In 1923, it became a museum.
The Kremlin (Moscow Kremlin) (includes five palaces, four cathedrals, walls & towers)
1329-1333; 1366-1368; 1462; 1476; 1485-1495; 1505-1508; 1596-1676; 1776; 1816-1819; 1839-1849. Moscow, Russia. Architects: Aristotle Fioravanti; Antonio Solario; Marco Ruffo; Matvey Kazakov; Osip Bove; Konstantin Thon
Moscow Kremlin serves as the official residence of the President of Russian Federation.
Milan Cathedral (Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of the Nativity of St. Mary)
1386-1965. Milan, Italy. Architects: Simone da Orsenigo; Nicolas de Bonaventure; Jean Mignot; Giuseppe Meda; Federico Borromeo; Pellegrino Pellegrini; Francesco Brambilla; Francesco Maria Richini; Fabio Mangone; Carlo Pellicani; Giuseppe Perego; Carlo Pellicani Jr.
The Milan Cathedral took six centuries to complete.
Machu Picchu (numerous buildings)
c. 1450. Cusco Region, Peru. Architect(s): Unknown
Machu Picchu was abandoned by the Incas when the Spanish arrived in the late 16th Century. It was “rediscovered” by American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911. Since then, many of the buildings have been restored to their former appearance.
St. Peter’s Basilica
1506-1626. Vatican City, Italy. Architects: Donato Bramante, Antonio da Sangallo, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Giacomo della Porta, Carlo Maderno, Gianlorenzo Bernini
St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
Château de Chambord
1519-1547. Chambord, France. Architects: Domenico da Cortona (?); Philibert Delorme (?)
The Chateau de Chambord, seen here in an aerial view, is a fine example of French Renaissance architecture.
Itsukushima Shrine (Torii of Itsukushima; Gateway of Itsukushima)
Mid-16th Century; 1875. Miyajima, Japan. Architect(s): Unknown
Although parts of the shrine date to the the 1500s, the current gateway was built in 1875.
Château de Fontainebleau (Palace of Fontainebleau)
16th Century. Fontainebleau, France. Architects: Gilles le Breton; Sebastiano Serlio; Leonardo da Vinci; Rosso Fiorentino; Philibert Delorme; Jean Bullant
A view of the Chateau de Fontainebleau.
St. Basil’s Cathedral (Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat; Pokrovsky Cathedral)
1554-1561. Moscow, Russia. Architects: Barma & Postnik Yakolev (attrib.)
Ivan the Terrible ordered the building of St. Basil’s to commemorate his military victories over Kazan and Astrakan.
El Escorial (Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial)
1562-1584. San Lorenzo de El Escorial, near Madrid, Spain. Architects: Juan Bautista de Toledo, Juan de Herrera
El Escorial was the residential palace of the King of Spain.
Villa Rotonda (La Rotonda; Villa Almerico Capra)
1567-1571. Near Vicenza, Italy. Architect: Andrea Palladio
In order to ensure that every room had sun, Palladio rotated the building 45 degrees from each point on the compass.
Imam Mosque (Masjed-e Imam; formerly Shah Mosque)
1611-1629. Isfahan, Iran. Architect: Shaykh Bahai
The Imam Mosque, in Iran, was built during the Safavid Period and incorporates both Persian and Islamic elements.
The Queen’s House
1616-1619; 1635; 1807. Greenwich, UK. Architect: Inigo Jones
The Queen’s House in Greenwich, by architect Inigo Jones, may be the first Neoclassical building in England. It was originally built for Queen Anne of Denmark, wife of King James I.
Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles)
1664-1668; 1669-1672; 1678-1684; 1699-1710; 1722; 1738-1741. Versailles, France. Architects: Louis Le Vau; Jules Hardouin-Mansart; Robert de Cotte
The Palace of Versailles.
St. Paul’s Cathedral (Cathedral Church of St. Paul the Apostle)
1675-1720. London, UK. Architect: Sir Christopher Wren
St. Paul’s Cathedral was the target of Nazi bombers during World War II.
The interior of St. Paul’s Cathedral during a 2008 service.
1705; 1762-1837; 1847-1850; 1913. London, UK. Architects: John Nash; Edmund Blore; Sir Aston Webb
Although there has been a royal residence there since the early 1700s, it was only after numerous expansions and renovations that Buckingham Palace became the official royal palace of the British monarch in 1837..
The White House
1792-1801; 1814-1817; 1824-1829; 1901. Washington, D.C., US. Architects: James Hoban; Benjamin Latrobe
British troops torched the Neoclassical White House, home of American presidents, during the War of 1812. It was later restored.
United States Capitol
1793-1811; 1814-1826; 1851-1865. Washington, D.C., US. Architects: William Thornton; Benjamin Latrobe; Charles Bulfinch; Thomas Walter & August Schoenborn
The Capitol is the home of the United States Senate and House of Representatives.
1823-1857. London, UK. Architect: Sir Robert Smirke
Despite subsequent renovations and additions, Sir Robert Smirke’s 19th Century Neoclassical building remains the heart of the British Museum.
Statue of Liberty
1884-1886. Liberty Island, NY, US. Architect: Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi; Richard Morris Hunt (pedestal)
The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from France. Written in the book in Lady Liberty’s hands is July 4, 1776, the date of the Declaration of Independence.
Marshall Field’s Wholesale Store
1885-1887. Demolished in 1930. Chicago, IL, US. Architect: Henry Hobson Richardson
Architect Henry Hobson Richardson designed the Marshall Field store in the Romanesque Revival style.
1887-1889. Paris, France. Architects: Gustave Eiffel; Maurice Koechlin, Émile Nouguier; Stephen Sauvestre
The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice structure that was built for the 1889 World’s Fair.
1890-1891. St. Louis, MO, US. Architect: Louis H. Sullivan & Dankmar Adler
The National Register of Historic Places called the Wainwright Building “a highly influential prototype of the modern office building.”
Larkin Building (Larkin Administration Building)
1904-1906. Demolished in 1950. Buffalo, NY, US. Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Inside the Larkin Building’s 76-foot-high central light court, Wright inscribed inspirational words, including: Sacrifice, Integrity, Imagination, Loyalty, Enthusiasm and Control.
Palais Stoclet (Stoclet House; Stoclet Palace)
1905-1911. Brussels, Belgium. Architect: Josef Hoffmann
Hoffmann designed the Stoclet House in the Viennese Secession style. It is still a private residence.
Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
1905-1912. Barcelona, Spain. Architect: Antoni Gaudì
Antoni Gaudì’s Casa Mila residence in Barcelona has acquired the nickname, “La Pedrera” or “The Quarry” due to its rocky appearance.
AEG Turbine Factory
1908-1910. Berlin, Germany. Architect: Peter Behrens
Peter Behrens was influenced by both Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts styles in designing a turbine factory for Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG) in Berlin.
1911-1913, 1925. Alfeld an der Leine, Germany. Architects: Walter Gropius & Adolf Meyer
In designing the Fagus Factory, which makes shoe lasts, Gropius and Meyer were strongly influenced by Behrens’ AEG Turbine Factory.
1919-1924. Potsdam, Germany. Architect: Erich Mendelsohn
The Einstein Tower is an astrophysical observatory, with a solar telescope designed by astronomer Erwin Finlay-Freundlich. Einstein himself called it “Organic.” (Wikipedia.)
1919-1926. Dessau, Germany. Architect: Walter Gropius
The Dessau building was the second home for the Bauhaus art school, which began in Weimar, Germany. Gropius both founded the school and designed the school buildings.
Schröder House (Rietvelt Schröder House)
1924. Utrecht, The Netherlands. Architect: Gerrit Rietveld
Some experts believe this private residence may be the only true example of a building designed according to the principles of De Stijl, also known as neoplasticism.
Barcelona Pavilion (German Pavilion, 1929 International Exposition)
1928-1929, 1986. Barcelona, Spain. Architect: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Meant to be a temporary structure, the Barcelona Pavilion was rebuilt in 1986.
PSFS Building (Loews Philadelphia Hotel)
1929-1932. Philadelphia, PA. Architects: George Howe & William Lescaze
The 36-floor PSFS Building, which opened in 1932, was seized by the FDIC in 1992. By 2000, it had reopened as a hotel.
Empire State Building
1930-1931. New York, NY, US. Architect: William F. Lamb
On July 28, 1945, a B-25 bomber crashed into the north side of the Empire State Building, between the 79th and 80th floors, killing 14 people. Elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver survived, but only after a 75-floor elevator free-fall. (Wikipedia)
Golden Gate Bridge
1933-1937. San Francisco, CA, US. Architects: Joseph B. Strauss, Irving Morrow & Charles Ellis
The Golden Gate Bridge, which connects San Francisco to Marin County, is held together by 1.2 million steel rivets.
Fallingwater (Kaufmann Residence)
1936-1939. Mill Run, PA, US. Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Wright designed Fallingwater for the Kaufmann family, who used it as a weekend retreat from 1937-1963, when they donated it to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, which operates it as a museum.
United Nations Headquarters
1949-1952. New York, NY, US. Architects: Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer, Harrison & Abramovitz
The International-style United Nations Headquarters consists of several buildings, including the General Assembly, the Secretariat and Dag Hammarskjöld Library.
UNAM Central Library
1950-1953. Mexico City, Mexico. Architects: Juan O’Gorman, Gustavo Saavedra & Juan Martinez de Velasco
The Central Library is located on the City University campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Chief designer Juan O’Gorman also painted the murals.
Cathedral of Brasília (Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady Aparecida)
1958-1970. Brasília, Brazil. Architect: Oscar Neimeyer
The statues of the four Evangelists at the entrance to Neimeyer’s cathedral were created by sculptor Dante Croce.
1971-1975; 2003-2006. Firminy, France. Architects: Le Corbusier & José Oubrerie
Although construction on the Saint Pierre church began in 1971, local political issues caused a hiatus until 2003, when building resumed.
1987. Houston, TX, US. Architect: Renzo Piano
A view of Renzo Piano’s building for the Menil Collection, which holds the private art collection of John and Dominique de Menil.
Another view of the Menil Collection building. Piano’s design is an example of the high-tech modern style.
Yokohama International Passenger Terminal (Ōsanbashi Pier)
1987-2002. Yokohama, Japan. Architect: Foreign Office Architects
The current Yokohama International Passenger Terminal was constructed on Osanbashi Pier, which dates to the late 19th Century.
An overhead view of the new passenger terminal.
Jewish Museum Berlin (new wing)
1992-1999. Berlin, Germany. Architect: Daniel Libeskind
An aerial view of the zig-zagging new wing (on left) of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, which connects to the older portion of the museum (on right) by an underground tunnel.
Beijing National Stadium “Bird’s Nest”
2003-2008. Beijing, China. Architects: Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron; Stefan Marbach, Ai Weiwei
The Bird’s Nest was the home for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Seattle Central Library
2004. Seattle, WA, US. Architects: Rem Koolhaas & Joshua Prince-Ramus
Burj Khalifa (Burj Dubai; Dubai Tower)
2004-2010. Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Architect: Adrian Smith/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Burj Khalifa currently holds the record for the tallest building in the world.